Friday, December 21, 2012

Edward Bawden's Christmas Gift

I'm re-gifting the work of Edward Bawden this year. He designed five Christmas catalogues between 1955 and 1959 for one of London's oldest stores, Fortnum & Mason. I consider Edward Bawden (1903-1989), to be one of the greatest artists and illustrators of the 20th century. He could to it all, and had a remarkable hand and wit with the pen. His handlettering hit all the right notes. It could be regal or playful—yet always elegant. Above all, he was extremely versatile and prolific. Each of these catalogues had a theme I'm guessing, beginning with the 1995 catalogue featuring the arrival of St. Nick and a reindeer with a tree and two gas lanterns in his antlers; the 1956 cover design with the Santa and his reindeer breaking a cracker and a Christmas ball with cats and dogs in fancy dress; 1957 with a champagne toast for the 250th anniversary of the store; the 1958 CATalogue featuring a St. Nick cat with a sled and reindeer on his back and a festive cat feast on the back cover; and lastly, the 1959, with a die-cut oval on front creating a theater of sorts for the "Christmas Pantomine" theme. All equally brilliant I might add. Thanks goes out to TM114 for sharing all five of them on Flickr. It is a gift! 

I also found this close-up shot of the 1959 catalogue which shows a photograph through the die-cut window of orchids. This image on all the others below are from Kotomicreations Flickrstream and were part of a Edward Bawden exhibit at the Bedford Gallery in late 2009. 

This is a close-up llustration for the order form inside the 1958 F & M CATalogue. The work below appears to be a tri-fold brochure for F&M which is seen unfolded. This time I think Santa is traveling by land, air and sea in a hovercraft steered by his reindeer. Steer clear for Christmas cheer...

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